Did anyone watch BBC's Blandings?

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Did anyone watch BBC's Blandings?

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Jan 14, 2013, 1:39 am

I watched the first in the new BBC BLanding's series last night... Admittedly my expectations were probably too high, the books are brilliant and the earlier Jeeves and Wooster (Fry & Laurie) was wonderful, so it was a tall order for the maker's to follow. I did laugh a couple of times and will definitely continue to watch, however, I was distinctly underwhelmed.

And it was the wrong pig! Admittedly it was quite a fun animal to watch but it didn't look like a Berkshire to me...

Jan 14, 2013, 2:50 am

What ?

New Wodehouse series and nobody told me? Why Not?
There will be questions about this. Serious questions.
Spoilt me porridge.

Looks like a good cast, excepting your qualification regarding the Empress.
Where's me iPlayer.

Jan 14, 2013, 5:46 am

Now had time to watch it, and I agree. Not a classic production.

Jan 14, 2013, 1:21 pm

Quite amusing, but nothing to do with Wodehouse. All they seem to have used from the original story were the basic plot outline and the character names.

The dialogue was rubbish, Spall and Saunders are good actors but were both as ludicrously miscast as the pigs (whatever else he is, Spall does not look like a lean and stringy peer, and he's hopeless at drooping like a wet sock; Saunders comes over as pathetic rather than scary). Beach was dressed like a tramp, whilst Emsworth was rather smart apart from his hats. The house (somewhere in Northern Ireland, apparently) didn't look anywhere near grand enough, but it did have a lake.

Angela had a splendid dress, and Freddie a most memorable hairdo, but I think both were a bit too much for the setting. And the Crocodile Dundee outfit was just silly...

All in all, it was almost as daft as the Downton Christmas special!

Jan 14, 2013, 2:45 pm

Mmmmh maybe it will improve? Maybe if I watched it while having a gargle?

Jan 14, 2013, 2:47 pm

Angela did indeed have a splendid dress, yes, that was one of the most notable things for me. Freddie's hair ... I got a feeling that someone had seen the film 'There's something about Mary'....

Jan 14, 2013, 2:50 pm

Maybe it will improve.

Jan 14, 2013, 4:30 pm

I'm curious to see whom they'll get to play Baxter and Gally. My money's on Jimmy Nail and Richard Griffiths, respectively...

Editado: Fev 13, 2013, 3:05 pm

Freddie's hair more put me in mind of Jedward. The programme did make me want to read more Blandings stories, though, which can only be a good thing - I'm generally more of a Jeeves and Wooster/Mulliner fan.

Jan 17, 2013, 6:25 pm

>8 thorold: I'll wager on Bob Hoskins and Ian McShane.

Jan 21, 2013, 3:37 am

>8 thorold:,10
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction: David Walliams played Baxter. But he evidently modelled the character on Bob Hoskins, so JBBarrett wins this round on points...

I noticed in the closing credits of episode 2 that Tony Ring acted as a consultant. I suppose his brief must have been to check for and eliminate any resemblance to the original stories that might inadvertently have crept into the script.

Can you imagine Wodehouse using the joke "Is that your manure?" "No, it's from a horse"? — and repeating it several times in one story?!?!
I expect they are feeling small earth tremors in the neighbourhood of Remsenburg, Long Island.

I should stop watching it, but there is a sort of morbid fascination in looking out for the horrors they perpetrate.

Fev 14, 2013, 11:45 am

Long Islander here. I did feel something a little while back....

I've heard the mixed reviews, but I have to say, I'm avidly awaiting the arrival of this program in the US.

Fev 14, 2013, 3:03 pm

>12 shabacus: Sadly, I really do think you'll be disappointed. Poor dialogue from miscast (although usually talented) players. I did actually rather like the pig, even if it is the wrong sort. In my mind's eye I have always seen the Empress as a Gloucester Old Spot - where does PGW tell us she was a Berkshire? David Jasen's bibliography is unhelpful.

Here is a website which might well have been Emsworth's favourite, had he been able to cope with the internet - http://www.thepigsite.com/info/swinebreeds.php - he could always have asked Beach for help, of course.

Fev 14, 2013, 5:08 pm

...and, while we are at it, where did the faux-Portugese princess come from in Company for Gertrude?

In the original, the accident-prone Beefy Bingham ended up with his living only because the church was a hundred yards from Sir Gregory Parsloe's house - a much more convincing motive for Emsworth's 'generosity'!

Editado: Fev 19, 2013, 11:13 pm

I think the Empress is usually identified as a Berkshire in the books. Here is the alpha and the omega as it were:

The Empress was first described as a Black Berkshire sow in the 1927 short story ‘Pig-hoo-o-o-o-ey'.

In the unfinished Sunset at Blandings, published two years after Wodehouse's death, there is this passage: "Lord Emsworth himself had once won a first prize for pumpkins at the Shropshire Agricultural Show, and his Berkshire sow, Empress of Blandings, had three times been awarded the silver medal for fatness, but you could not say that he had really risen to eminence in the public life of England."


Fev 20, 2013, 5:12 am

>15 dpbrewster: Thanks for that - I shall have to alter my mind's eye!

Fev 20, 2013, 1:23 pm

Personally I find the gross distortion of Lady Constance's character too much to take. I have watched three episodes and while I can accept a broadening of the stories for a mass audience I really think that expecting this formidable lady to engage in revenge games involving laxatives as in one episode is a step too far. If there is one thing you could always count on with this lady it is that her dignity was important to her. My real sorrow in all of this is that it is unlikely to encourage fresh readers for these glorious stories; any who do make it to the books may be expecting much blunter comedy than they will find.

Mar 6, 2013, 2:30 am


Hello Everyone, just at add a spanner in the works, I can say that I have (somewhat) changed my mind from my original posting. I have read the article on the series in the PG Wodehouse society (UK) and now understand that the series was more of an interpretation rather than a strict translation of the stories into the medium of television and that general aim was for a young early evening family audience and people who were not generally aquainted with the wonderful works of Wodehouse. Hence I think that strong emphasis on slapstick and crude humour. It also explained why the pig 'actor' in question was not a Berkshire.

I would be interested to know what others think of the article. Toodle Pip!

Editado: Mar 19, 2013, 7:52 am

>18 Bowerbirds-Library:
Sorry, didn't see your posting until today.

The article is interesting. It certainly reads like an explanation written for a hostile audience when the author knows he's not going to win any hearts and minds whatever he says (I've written a few of those in my time...). The sense of it is clear: the PGW Trustees can't afford to care about artistic values or being faithful to the spirit of Wodehouse. They have to manage a valuable commercial asset with a finite lifetime, and see their duty as being to get as much money out of it as possible before the copyrights expire (same argument as with the Faulks thing). Far better to sell a million copies of Blandings Castle and elsewhere with a picture of Jennifer Saunders on the front cover than to maintain the goodwill of a few hundred diehards who've already read all the books and probably bought them secondhand on eBay anyway. Exactly the same argument as pyjama-cricket: if more people pay to watch it, it must be better.

The irony of it is that Wodehouse would almost certainly have agreed with them: I'm sure he would have considered that the writer's first duty is to make money for himself and his family. The difference, were he still around, is that he would have had a say in the content, and have dumbed the stories down for TV in tasteful, subtle ways.

Jun 30, 2013, 12:32 am

My two cents worth: it wasn't great television and it was a pale reflection of the genius of Wodehouse, but I watched all six episodes and was entertained. I disliked the silly sound effects and Freddie's hair standing on end and I didn't think Mark Williams captured Beach. However, I was happy to see Wodehouse on the telly again. And despite all the groans, this story suggests it was well-liked enough to warrant a second season:


Editado: Ago 28, 2015, 4:57 am

Coming to this conversation rather late both as a new member of this group and also as the Blandings TV series has only just reached our satellite TV station in this part of the world.

I think >20 JenniferPetkus: sums up my feelings: "it wasn't great television and it was a pale reflection of the genius of Wodehouse, but I... was entertained".

It also spurred me on to begin rereading some of the Blandings novels which I hadn't read for several decades, and to join this LT group.

Ago 28, 2015, 5:38 am

Which, from the point of view of the Wodehouse literary executors, is very much the point of the series: to revive interest in PGW's work, especially among younger readers. This is also the thinking behind literary revivals such as Sebastian Faulks Jeeves and Wooster and James Bond pastiches (both of which I thought were pretty good).

Welcome to the group, BTW. It'll be nice to see it come to life again.

Ago 28, 2015, 10:22 am

>21 John5918:
Welcome - I always suspected you of being a secret PGW fan, John :-)

Ago 28, 2015, 2:17 pm

>23 thorold: Thank you. Yes, I always loved Wodehouse but somehow drifted away for decades. Now I'm back.